Turkey’s Central Bank Governor Hafize Gaye Erken resigns, cites recent ‘defamation campaign’ as reason

After allegations of her family’s involvement in the bank, Turkey’s Central Bank Governor Erkan announced her resignation from the duty, citing "defamation campaign" as the reason.

Duvar English

Hafize Gaye Erkan on Feb. 2 announced to step down as Turkey’s Central Bank chief. 

In a message posted on X, Erkan cited the recent "defamation campaign" against her as the reason to resign to prevent her family from further harm, and "asked" President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to "pardon" her from her duty.

‘’A major reputation assassination campaign has been organized against me recently,’’ Erkan wrote, adding that she leaves her position, ‘’in order to prevent my family and my innocent child, who is not even one-and-a-half years old, from being further affected by this process.’’

She further hailed the progress in added reserves at the bank and expressed her gratitude towards Treasury and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for becoming Turkey’s first female Central Bank governor.

In a separate statement, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said that Erkan’s withdrawal is a personal decision at her own discretion, and that similar economic policies will continue under the new governor.

‘We respect her decision and are grateful for her service,’’ Şimşek wrote, and suggested that a new governor will be appointed in line with his recommendation.

Erkan's resignation follows after accusations arose earlier last month of her father’s involvement in the bank, who allegedly acted as an unofficial manager at the bank, slapping and dismissing a central bank employee and allocating some of the bank’s social facilities to the family.

Opposition parties demanded her resignation following the commotion, while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan backed her.

"When our Central Bank reserves hit a record high of 145.5 billion dollars, they immediately took action. They launch campaigns to disrupt the climate of confidence and stability that we have achieved with great difficulty in our economy with preposterous rumors," Erdoğan said in a recent meeting.

Since Erkan took office in June 2023, Turkey’s Central Bank moved course from previous unorthodox economic policies of slashing interest rates, which plunged the country into heavy currency deprecation, low reserves, and skyrocketing inflation.

Erkan formerly held positions at First Republic Bank at Goldman Sachs.

(English version by Wouter Massink)